Australia to ban foreign political donations, citing concerns over China

Australia, concerned about rising Chinese influence, will ban foreign political donations to prevent external interference in domestic politics, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday. Turnbull said that foreign powers were making “unprecedented and increasingly sophisticated attempts to influence the political process” in Australia and throughout the world, and cited “disturbing reports about Chinese influence.” Australia and New Zealand are among roughly a third of countries worldwide that allow foreign donations to political parties. Australia’s new laws, modeled in part on the US Foreign Agents Registration Act, would criminalize foreign interference and require the registration of lobbyists working for nation states, Reuters quoted Turnbull as saying.